Even though it has slightly faded in its popularity compared to previous decades, baseball still retains its spot as America’s favorite pastime. In addition, it is increasing in popularity in other regions of the world, such as South and Central America and East Asia – and many times, the love of the game stems from the time a player is a young child.
Youth baseball might not have the same level of sophistication that is present in the senior leagues, but it is still competitive as more young people discover a passion for the game. When buying a glove for a 9 year old or any younger player, the same criteria that apply to older players will still be present here. Fortunately, we have done much of the work for you, and broken it down to five brands that are the best for younger players, as well as a general buying guide to help you select the best gloves.
Glove size (inches)
Check on Amazon
9 to 12
8 oz. to 1.2 lbs.
Leather (full grain)
Outfield and infield
11 to 14
10 oz. to 1 lb.
Rawlings Boys player series ball glove
If you have been on the baseball gloves scene for a long time, you will know that the quality of Rawlings gloves is never something to trifle with – their gloves are among the best you can get, regardless of the player you are buying them for, and this one is not an exception.
- Measures 9 inches, T-ball glove
- Shell is pliable and soft to help in easier closure and flexibility
- Game-ready, as it is broken in from the factory
- Comfort due to the soft inner lining
- Package includes a molded PU trainer ball
The design of this glove caters specifically to the requirements of the youngest baseball players, as it has a number of advantages that gloves for older players will not have.
One noticeable aspect is that the pockets are very deep, which helps the player to capture the ball correctly – a basic skill that they will need in the game. In order to make the experience easier for them, the glove will come completely broken in, and this will give them the chance to pick up the glove and go out to play.
The odd thing about it though is the weight of the glove, which is a bit too heavy in correlation to the size, so a very young player might not enjoy using it as much. The good thing is that the glove is inexpensive, and that is a major plus on your end (since you do not need to buy expensive gloves for a very young player).
Nokona Select Plus series glove
This is not as old as the other brands on the list, but its history is still extensive – even going back to the 1930s. The priority of the brand is promoting high quality products, much more than anything else, and the same goes for this glove. Even though their products might be expensive compared to others, they will still give you very good gloves that can handle intense levels of competition.
- Mainly comprised of Stampede and Buffalo leathers
- Has a game-ready feel
- Inch pattern of about 32 inches
- Two-piece closed web design
Do not be fooled by the designation of this glove – even though its S-2 rating makes it seem like it is more suited for mid-tier youth playing. They will still give you very high quality of service and performance, due to the pride the company has in its construction.
The main materials that constitute the glove are top grain cowhide and buffalo leather – so it is the best choice when it comes to durability. Its structure also makes it light enough for a developing player, but this comes at a cost – the price can be quite prohibitive.
The glove itself is handmade, and can even be customized if you want it to. The buffalo leather can make it quite stiff, but it comes pre-broken in to make sure your young player can use it immediately. Just keep in mind that it works best for teen players rather than very young children.
Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth glove
This is another brand that had their beginnings designing baseball gloves and growing from that point. However, they have a distinct difference over all the other brands on this list: they did not actually start by designing their own products, but they got into innovation when they saw that the sports market was growing in the early 19th century.
The GPP1150Y1 glove also follows this tradition, and is among the best gloves you can get for a growing player.
- For maximum performance and fit, it has a power lock closure
- Power Close mechanism makes catching easy
- Heel Flex technology makes catching easy for your player
- V-Flex notch to help in easy closure
The main standout feature here is the patented Power Close technology, which goes a long way to ensuring ball catching becomes easier on a young player. This is because it will significantly reduce the force that they need to put in for catching the ball, and they will not need to use as much hand strength to accomplish the task.
The design also incorporates a Power Lock design (patented by the manufacturer), which will make loosening and tightening specific parts of the glove easier without compromising on the durability.
In addition, you will not need to worry much about durability issues, as the fully laced web will ensure that the glove does not fall apart, even as it remains flexible enough to handle multiple hand movements.
Franklin Sports baseball glove for adults and youth
This is a basic glove that can handle the demands of the game decently, although you will struggle with it if you have very large or wide hands. However, it is quite affordable, which makes it a great glove for young people who are starting out in the game.
- Comprised primarily of synthetic leather, making it lightweight
- Contour fitting system and adjustable wrist strap
- Hand formed pocket
- Sizes and pattern variations: 10.5”, 12.5”, 14” and 10” (basket web), 11” (I-web design), 12” (trapeze web), 13” (modified trapeze web)
This glove is probably not the best option for professional league play due to the material that comprises it, and it is harder to break in – but it will basically deliver what you pay for. There is some good news though; the 13” and 14” gloves are great choices for outfield players, thanks to the modification of the trapeze design that gives it extra quality and depth.
When you look at the smaller designs, the 11” gloves are good for infielders because of the I-web design that is nifty enough to help during quick transition playing. However, be prepared because the material is not as breathable, the pocket is slightly stiffer than what you would want, and the palm padding is not much.
Wilson Tee ball glove
If there is a brand you will likely see at the list of the top baseball glove manufacturers, it has to be Wilson. Funny enough though, they started off as a maker of tennis equipment, not baseball – but they changed their offerings quickly when they saw that baseball was quickly rising in popularity in the country. This even led them to signing exclusive manufacturer contracts with the Chicago Cubs, thereby expanding their reach.
This glove seeks to cater to young children who are not necessarily dealing with fly balls and hard line drives, while still giving quality performance similar to gloves fit for older players.
- Caters to all positions
- Measures 10 inches
- Victory web design
- Comprised of soft EVA material for the shell
The disadvantage here is the sizing – the glove only comes in a 10-inch size. Even though this seems like it too big for a very young player, the size will actually work to their advantage in the long term. This is because the glove is small enough to allow the player to grow easily into it over time, but it also retains a lot of flexibility that will make their handling easier.
Out of all the gloves we have reviewed, the EVA shell is not the best material for durability reasons, so purchasing this item can prove to be a problematic decision – even if it will be used in slow pitch baseball. The glove also only has a right hand throwing configuration, which will pose a problem for a player that prefers throwing with their left hand. That said, the pricing is reasonable, so it will not pose too many problems when you want to buy a glove for a growing player.
What to consider when buying a youth baseball glove
When it comes to buying a baseball glove for a young player, the most important aspect to keep in mind is the glove size. Children obviously have smaller hands than adults, so that plays a major role – but it does not depend much on the size of the child’s hand; instead, it will come down to their position in the game.
What you might not know is that the so-called ‘proper’ size will apply when you are looking at the age of the child – both younger and older kids will play better when they are using properly sized gloves. In the case of a young child, they do not have a high skill level, so their equipment needs to be as simple as possible and emphasize their grasp of the correct gaming skills.
In addition, there needs to be replacement of these gloves when the child is in their early growth stages, at least until they can master the basics of the game. Once they achieve this, you can get them a slightly larger glove to develop their hand strength and save you money.
The material that is used in the glove will influence many other attributes, although youth baseball gloves do not have a specific ‘best material’. This is due to the qualities of the gloves used by youth players will not always follow the same standards that are present in adult and professional leagues.
An instance would be the leather varieties that feature prominently in various baseball gloves, and the synthetic materials that also feature. When it comes to materials, leather is always superior to synthetic materials, even if it is of a lower grade. However, this will not be as important when looking at gloves for younger players, because they have not developed their hand strength and skill enough to use premium gloves. This is made even more complicated due to the break-in time that premium gloves need.
Different materials have different attributes, which are:
- Synthetic – the lowest grade of material, and can either be synthetic fibers or flexible plastic. Unfortunately, they are not durable, although they are lightweight.
- Pigskin – this is the lowest grade of leather. It tends to lose shape over time, especially after heavy use in fast pitch situations, so it is better for a young player to develop hand strength.
- Cowhide – the most common form of leather, and suitable for young players who have gone through their first growth spurt. It is also durable as long as it is maintained well.
- Steer hide – this is very durable (lasting a minimum of five years), but is also very stiff and requires a long break-in time. It is not necessary for a child unless they are a teen player or participating in competitive leagues.
- Buffalo leather – this has the durability and stiffness of steer hides, but is also lighter. The only disadvantage is the price.
This will depend on the position of the player, as those who have balls thrown to them at high speed will need more padding than outfield players. The criteria of quality padding will mostly apply to catchers, as well as third and first base players. The second position that needs plenty of padding is the first baseman.
Purchasing a baseball glove for a young player, especially a pre-teen one, requires careful consideration about the sizing and padding. The good news is that it is possible to find a good glove for them, which will help them develop their game.